Informal Economy

Creative associations in Fiji establish formal partnership with National Private Sector Organization and starts mentoring programme

The initiative was technically supported and funded by the United Nations joint Informal Economies Recovery Project.

News | 09 November 2021
Signing ceremony in Nadi, Fiji.
A major highlight at the Top Executive Conference (TOPEX) 2021 was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Fiji Islands Dance Association (FIDA) and Viti Association of Visual Arts (VAVA) and the Fiji Commerce & Employers Federation (FCEF).

The partnership sort to draw from FCEF’s rich experience and resources, as an Employers and Business Membership Organisation (EBMO), to strengthen the effectiveness and sustainability of the two creative associations.

At the signing on 13th November 2021, the President of FCEF, Mr Vinay Narsey said that one of the sectors most impacted by COVID-19 is the arts or creative sector. “With Fiji opening up to Tourism, this provides an opportunity to support the recovery of this sector. In line with the theme of TOPEX, Resilient Business Ready for Tomorrow, 2030, FCEF is proud to sign this MoU that establishes the platform to mentor creative associations so they can support their members and MSME’s recover and be resilient for tomorrow”, highlighted Mr Narsey.

Signing on behalf of the creative associations were the interim Chairpersons of VAVA, Mr Irami Buli and for FIDA, Ms Sachiko Soro. Both chairs expressed their appreciation and renewed hopes not only for their membership but the creative industry in general.

When interviewed by the Fiji Times on the day of the signing, Mr Matin Karimli, the ILO Director for the Pacific Island Countries, highlighted that this event was part of ILO’s greater support, through business development services and formalising the informal sector, including associations.

Two months from the signing, FCEF and the creative associations kicked started their mentoring programme on 8th February 2022. Running for five weeks, agreed topics for the programme includes, roles and responsibilities, good governance, developing strategic plans and communication policies, managing association funds, strategies for lobbying and building industry partnerships. The programme also includes networking opportunities and attachment/placement in FCEF to shadow the CEO and understand the work of the secretariat.

“This partnership model can be considered a best practice for the regional, as it provides creative associations and their members (who own micro enterprises), to access relevant national level resources to sustain their associations”, said Mr Edward Bernard. As Project Coordinator for the UN joint Informal Economies Recovery Project, he said one of their key objectives is to link creative associations to national platforms and partners, such as EBMO’s and Workers Organizations, to enhance their potential to influence COVID-19 recovery policies.